Hispanic ministries: Another field waiting to be harvested
By Paul Black
PEORIA – Ministry with a growing Hispanic population represents one of the largest fields awaiting a discipleship harvest.
IGRC Associate Coordinator for Hispanic Ministries Adrian Garcia believes that with planning and strategy, Hispanic ministries could be a bountiful harvest.
He noted in his presentation as part of the Connectional Ministries report:
- 1 of every 5 Illinois residents has a Hispanic background
- There are Hispanic residents in every county of Illinois, with the largest concentrations within the IGRC in the Spoon River District (Quad Cities), Iroquois River District (Champaign-Urbana) and the Mississippi River District (Metro East St. Louis)
Currently, there are five Hispanic ministries within the IGRC:
- Jesus es el Senor UMC in Cobden, Cache River District
- Manantiel de Vida, Moline, Spoon River District
- Peoria First UMC, Peoria, Illinois River District
- Nueva Jerusalen, Kankakee, Vermilion River District
- Nueva Esperanza, Caseyville, Mississippi River District
Garcia noted that a comprehensive and strategic plan for the next four years needs to be developed in coordination with the Cabinet and the District ministry teams and churches willing to make their neighborhood your mission field. To lead these new ministries, there have to be trained clergy and laity who have been trained to reach the Hispanic population.
“District ministry teams need to envision a disciple-making strategy to reach Hispanic communities,” Garcia said. “Boards of Ordained Ministry need to recruit seminary students who can reach out to second and third generation Hispanics. And clergy with a skill set and calling to have a passion for the Hispanic population.”